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Rock 'n' Roll with Chinese Characteristics: Nirvana Behind the Great Wall

Like pretty much everywhere else in the pop music universe, China's developing rock scene changed after Nirvana. It's just that China's rockers didn't get the memo in 1991, nor would've known what to do with it, then.

Music

Red Rock: The Long Strange March of Chinese Rock & Roll

From pivotal concerts by local legends to controversial visits from international rock superstars, clashes with state censors and government-sponsored rock festivals, this work encapsulates the thrills and frustrations experienced by Chinese rockers.

Jonathan Campbell
Music

Getting Sick in a Foreign Language

There is something familiar to me in that idea of an abandoned past; in a place like Beijing, you too can become anybody, literally. Because of the disconnect between here and Back Home, you can create for yourself the identity you've always wanted.

Music

The Revolution Will Not Be in a Stadium

If the Chinese revolution has a soundtrack, it won't be the Rolling Stones' songs; especially given that their ticket prices are more than most Chinese can afford.

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Foreigners in Foreign Lands, Part II: Exotic Occidentals

The second in a series of two examinations of foreign musicians, in which the Devil returns, literally, to China, to suss out those abusing the 'foreign' tag.

Jon Campbell
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Foreigners in Foreign Lands, Part I: Exotic Orientals

In the first in a series of examinations of foreign musicians we meet the Subs, a Chinese band who, no matter how good (or bad) their music, are first and foremost Chinese -- whether they like it or not.

Jon Campbell
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Yar Matey! Sailing the Pirate-infested Seas of Beijing's CD Shops, or: Piracy: A Defence

The Beijing music-buying experience is daunting and disorienting, rife with clogged cardboard boxes, cut-outs, and pirated imports. In a highly censored market, the explicitly illegal discs may also be the most necessary.

Jon Campbell
Music

China Syndrome

The garage-punk band Subs are from China, and they wish that didn't interest you.

Jon Campbell
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History in the Making?

How unsuspecting Tuesday nights of experimentalism in a tiny bar may be indicative of our living in extraordinary times.

Jon Campbell
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Post (Modern) Punk

Gimme gimme mock treatment! A Shanghai folk band go suddenly and self-consciously punk in front of an in-on-the-joke Beijing audience.

Jon Campbell
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When Good Isn't Enough

When a national music scene is mediocre at best, what exactly constitutes 'good'? Campbell trounces his fortified preconceptions about Beijing rock bands to find out.

Jon Campbell
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Cultural Imperialism or Friendly Guidance?

The Foreign Devil swears he's trying to help, but when does 'help' become an imperialist action?

Jon Campbell
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The Kindness of Strange Punks

In a foreign land twice-removed, Campbell discovers that punks, even mohawked ones, aren't all devils.

Jon Campbell
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Paying the Piper. Or Not.

Urban cool Beijingers are happy to spend their money on alcohol, karaoke, and high-end food. But when it comes to paying a cover to attend a live show, something happens: their sense of self-importance precludes their willingness to pay to be entertained by others.

Jon Campbell
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Vive La France!

A dozen Francais artists -- including electro-jazz troupe St Germain and tango-meets-dub-and-beats act Gotan Project, among others -- played a massive stage in a downtown Beijing park to an audience of several thousand merry revellers.

Jon Campbell
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Token White Guy

In which the Foreign Devil becomes eye candy, window-dressing and court jester all while not playing a John Denver song.

Jon Campbell
Music

The Anti-Godfather

Cui Jian brought rock and roll to a land of a billion people and has reigned for almost 20 years as the foremost proponent of Chinese rock. Just don't call him its Godfather.

Jon Campbell
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Midi Music Festival

In which the Foreign Devil picks up where he left off, taking readers back to China's favourite rock festival.

Jon Campbell
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The Four Represents

In which the Foreign Devil shares four Beijing-area rock experiences to prepare readers for what is Out There, and, further, what is to come.

Jon Campbell
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